12-year-old girl dies after undergoing female genital mutilation, parents and doctor arrested

The practice was banned in Egypt in 2008, however, it continues to be practiced.


                            12-year-old girl dies after undergoing female genital mutilation, parents and doctor arrested
(Getty Images)

The parents of a 12-year-old Egyptian girl who died while undergoing female genital mutilation have been arrested. The doctor who performed the banned criminal practice has been held too. According to The New Strait Times, the child was taken to a private clinic where the procedure, also known as female circumcision, took place, the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

"After she left, she suffered complications. The doctor tried to save her, but she passed away,” they said, adding that "firm action" would be taken against them. 

The victim's family have been held by the authorities for four days as the investigation into her death continues. The incident has angered women's rights activists in the country. 

The practice was banned in Egypt in 2008, however, it continues to be practiced. Female genital mutilation or FGM involves cutting off some or all of the external parts of the female genitalia and is rooted in gender inequality and attempts to control women's sexuality and ideas about purity and modesty. In some cases, the clitoris is pricked and in others, the vaginal opening is sewn up. Men in rural areas are said to prefer their young brides circumcized.

A survey conducted by the UN Children's Fund in 2016 found that 87 percent of women and girls had undergone FGM in Egypt. They were between the ages of 15-49.

In the same year as the survey, the practice was declared a felony and the surgeons that perform FGM could be sent away for upto 7 years while those who asked for FGM could be put away for three years. Activists have said that the law has not been enforced to its full capacity and perpetrators get away with a slap on the wrist. 

Lawyer Reda Eldanbouki, who is also the executive director of the Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness said that FGM wasn't given its due importance by the police. “Most of them do not take the cases seriously because they believe that it is for the benefit of the girl to undergo female circumcision for the protection of her chastity,” said Eldanbouki.

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